Tropes vs. Women Protagonists

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TwistedEllipses:
This is a weird question, but have games ever gone for an androgynous main character? That could be an interesting thing to play with...

Unless someone makes a game of Ursula K. LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness. Or is there a Ranma 1/2 game out there?

gridsleep:

TwistedEllipses:
This is a weird question, but have games ever gone for an androgynous main character? That could be an interesting thing to play with...

Unless someone makes a game of Ursula K. LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness. Or is there a Ranma 1/2 game out there?

I think I've seen a ranma 1/2 game on the gameboy. But that was about it.

Step 1) Hire Michelle Rodriguez

Step 2) Give her some real armour, and weapons

Step 3) Profit

TwistedEllipses:
This is a weird question, but have games ever gone for an androgynous main character? That could be an interesting thing to play with...

You mean other then every JRPG ever?

Women are not being failed by the games industry, to say otherwise is nothing short of sensationalist.

Yes there are a very small minority of games that portray or glamourise sexist trends (for both sexes), but the vast majority of games do not, hell the majority of games (it would seem to me) don't even feature human characters.

This article is the equivelant of saying "FILMS ARE SEXIST BECAUSE I CAN'T WATCH A STRONG MALE PROTAGONIST IN ALIEN"

Excellent article as usual by Shamus.

I do question the unigender games. Fallout 3 is my favorite game to come out in the last 10 years or so, and you can pick your gender. It has next to no significance. But when this happens it gets argued that it's a male role with a female tacked over it (As mentioned with Velvet Assassin, Mirror's Edge).

If that argument gets made then I have to ask the inherently sexist question of what women want to do. Because if we're implying that running around exploring, solving puzzles, and fighting are guy territory (sexist) then we quickly enter the realm of Barbie Horse Adventure. Either girls want to participate in the beat down, or they want to sit on loveseats and crochet.

On female characters, my belief is that they should at least be competent/useful in some way or form. Like, you might diss a frilly medic character, but in my eyes as long as she's good at her role of healing and has some interesting things to say then I'm not going to be too angry at them. Or you could have a Damsel In Distress scenario, but later on you find out that she's either successfully broken out (or at least made several attempts) or that she's trying to infiltrate the enemy base and has been able to relay info to the good guys.

On female protagonists, the most important thing is to not beat the audience over the head with "SHE'S A STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMEN GAIS" and simply have her be at least a tolerable character who is good at what she does (As in, she doesn't get knocked out through a bop in the head in the cutscenes after fighting through five waves of goons). She can be somewhat snippy with males within reason but it doesn't give her the reason to be a bitch:

Captain Beefsteak: "Haw, you finally got your tiny little ass back eh, sweetcheeks?"
Janey Blasterton: "Yes I have, along with proof for that bounty. Pay up."

Of course, considering the fact that I'm a heterosexual male who admittedly has no problem with looking at the female body, I might be the wrong person to answer this question.

I think there's a distinction we have to make here if we're going to discussing what makes a good female lead who goes against the stereotypes.

Strong physically =/= strong mentally.

And strength isn't everything. Nor is the character having to be good at their job. People can have some weakness. If your female character has no weakness, they become a Mary Sue, and that's just as bad. However, what we see, is in an attempt to make female characters more relatable, or less intimidating, writers give them huge, glaring flaws, usually flaws that males feel they can cover for. Strong female lead who can crush skulls left and right but still has emotional soft spots the size of Canada? That's a trope. A big one.

I'm hoping Anita Sarkeesian sheds some light on this general point in a way that most people can understand, because alot of people seem to have it go over their heads.

Dreiko:
I don't get the "women want to play too" argument. Aren't women already playing? Aren't they already like 40some% of the gaming population? How does this happen when games according to you are mostly incapable of providing the power fantasy they seek?

I think a lot of women are fine with this supposedly male-centric power fantasy, cause women are people and people enjoy doing bad-ass and cool things, destroying things, being loved by the side-characters and so on. The fact that the protagonist is male doesn't mean that the gratification itself is gender-locked. Women don't get precluded from feeling bad-ass when they blow up a building just because the character is male, they still are the player, they still did do the act, they still do feel the joy and fun and whatever else that stems from it.

But again, as Shamus pointed out, if things were reversed it would be like all games are filled with Justin Beiber, Edward Cullen, and Fabio. Yes, women like myself are playing, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't like to see a female lead that is actually geared toward us every now and then. Just imagine your entire gender either being relegated to the sidelines or looking as though they've just been pulled out of a strip club, or just go see Magic Mike to get that nice feeling of awkwardness that occurs when you realize you're experience something that wasn't quite meant for you.

And no, not all games are that marginalizing, and I hate to sound accusatory but it's just so easy for you to say things like "just because the protagonist is male doesn't mean you can't enjoy it, too." You haven't grown up playing games and one day came to the realization you can count on one hand the number of characters your gender that you actually give two shits about. You haven't grown up playing games wondering why the only time a female you can look up to takes the stage, she's very underclothed compared to the male cast. You don't know how bewilderingly exciting it can be when you finally find a great character you can relate to--one that is well-written and is the same gender as you. You may not see it as much of a problem, but I'm afraid it kind of is a pretty big problem, actually.

So please, don't tell me I should just pretend like I don't care that men get all the glory games because I do. I do care. No it doesn't ruin every gaming experience when I'm not represented by a female, but at the very least I'd appreciate it if we'd stop pretending everything is fine when if you look at it objectively, things are really not fine at all. The very fact that we are well into the 21st century and absolutely cannot get our heads around the idea of how to present women in media without making them brainless objects or sex toys I think is pretty clear sign that we are very far from doing fine in this area.

Tenmar:

Kekkonen1:
The Xenosaga-games are quite unique in that they have a female lead (Shion) that is not sexualized at all, but is a strong smart scientist.

But then again, just like with male protagonists, what characters will be liked is very individual. Some guys may love playing as over-the-top Kratos while others prefer androgynic Cloud, and in the same way some girls might love the over-the-top Bayonetta while others prefer the more subdued intellectual Shion.

vhailorx:

Basically rather than lumping ME in with other games that had female protagonists but were 'bad for unrelated reasons' the article should/could have emphasized just how few games there are like ME that have basically done exactly what shamus is calling out: had a female lead that wasn't an object of titillation for male players. I don't think it's coincidence that ME is the only 1st person game of the 5 he explicitly calls out in the article (ME, Wet, VA, Bayonetta and Lollipop Chainsaw).

I simply must disagree with this, I think "official" femshep was constructed in a way that was certainly made to be attractive to men. Not only did they have that choose-femshep-thingy which was kind of bad, but what really bothered me was that the official femshep looks like an 18 year old girl. I have a hard time believing that the living legend that is Shephard is anywhere below 35, male-shep certainly doesn't look as young as femshep does.

Let's be honest when you get complaints or demands from consumers to craft something in the image they demand or to fulfill said demand. Often companies have to really not only bend over backwards and invest a lot of money into research but also spend more time developing said product that would satisfy said consumers complaining.

The flaw here is that honestly no matter what the company does or how much they actually invest financially there won't be a blank slate to work with and false expectations are already set. Thus you get a result where you will still get consumers complaining about the product.

Honestly the choice of femshep was certainly a popularity contest but note that EA did need some mascot and what better way than to actually let people decide. However, also note that the "official" femshep shouldn't be a point of contention because you as a player still get all the creative choice of what YOUR character shepard should be. From gender to hair color they invested the time and resources to make it as flexible as they can within reason of development to fulfill a demand that honestly they really didn't need to make because while Bioware certainly does open ended narratives you still want some creative control because enabling the control of gender to the player forces more choices and thus more writing where you can no longer have the writer to have control on certain character interactions to set the mood.

Tenmar/Kekkonen1: You two do realize that your whole argument about femshep was spawned by a quote which, when taken into context with it's preceeding paragraphs, was clearly using the abbreviation "ME" to refer to "Mirror's Edge," and not "Mass Effect?" I just thought I'd point that out:

vhailorx:
This is, as usual, a solid article from Shamus, but I think he abused mirror's edge by 1) saying that it was bad and 2) lumping it in with Wet and probably Velvet Assassin though i haven't played must of the VA.

Mirror's Edge was undeniably a commercial failure. But I think it would be a mistake to suggest that the game was bad. Obviously I am a fan of the game and therefore biased. But the metacritic score for that game was right around 80, so I think it's fair to say that critics generally enjoyed it. By contrast Wet and VA were ~70 and 60 respectively.

Basically rather than lumping ME in with other games that had female protagonists but were 'bad for unrelated reasons' the article should/could have emphasized just how few games there are like ME that have basically done exactly what shamus is calling out: had a female lead that wasn't an object of titillation for male players. I don't think it's coincidence that ME is the only 1st person game of the 5 he explicitly calls out in the article (ME, Wet, VA, Bayonetta and Lollipop Chainsaw).

Reading comprehension ftw! ;)

DioWallachia:

BreakfastMan:

DioWallachia:

Rly? because so far, she hasnt even TELL US what a "good" female character constitutes. Let alone how the theme of motherhood can be used without going sexist (like Other M)

*cough, cough* Aliens *cough, cough* good example of how the theme of motherhood can work and not be sexist in an action sci-fi context *cough, cough*

....

That is it?

This is one of the things that are so simple that you cant believe that is the correct answer. Also cant believe why we didnt see that more often, then again people was too weirded out with Alien Resurrection and the alien-baby-thingy.

To my knowledge some sort of "scene" like this was discussed at some point with Sigourney Weaver with the later films, it was not a "writers" or "directors" decision or call, it was something that Sigourney wanted to do herself. I suppose in resurrection the idea was "sure" why the hell not.

This "theme" is something that was predominant in the first Alien film, birth trauma, female anxiety, so on and so forth... there are tons of critical analysis of the topic.

Just to recap, it was something Sigourney wanted to do. *Shrug* There it is. Sigourney kind'a a freak.

But here is the thing..........that doesnt seem exclusive to a woman. Lets pretend that Ripley is a man now and does exactly the same in the movie, what would change? because, again, if the thing that is HOLDING BACK the writers in making proper women is just that......and that is just so dammed simple that even a man can do it (that sounded sexist) then what was so special about motherhood again?

Maybe when writers see Motherhood they see the pregnancy state (only women understand what is having a baby inside) more than the aftermat (where both genders can take care of the newborn)

Cameron uses this often in his fashioning of narrative. To save on typing I am of the mind to say that there are predominantly two succussful types of female protagonist narrative in the western or Greek vein. A Joan' de Arc, in which the protagonist is effectively "broken" if she gives up the goods, her virtue is ludic and a source of her power. The other is clearly the motherhood, female tiger protecting the young. It's simple. Straight forward. People get it.

...and that is important, if one is trying to make a living... at writing...

The first leverages a certain female "economy" of desirably... this shit is so "documented" it's not even funny... is it real, like a "thing"? Maybe a little less so today than it has been in the past in certain parts of the world.

Can you take her home to meet mom? Isn't just whistle'n Dixie.

The second is a different kind of leverage but yet one of desirability. In mate selection the aptitude of a female to "step up" when a man is down for the count is simply "attractive". Especially for men who are more socially or familial oriented. For a teenager probably not so much, but for the purposes of the Aliens film, there is a tremendous amount of chemistry that is captured. Hell, even Vasquez steps up when Ripley becomes emotional in front of the men.

Trick is, it works better because it is a female that is integrating herself with a crew, something that "narratively" she had done before in the previous film. She gains "something" from each member of the crew, ultimately she faces down her own "personal" tragedy of loosing her daughter to the hyper sleep. Straight forward, done well, makes sense, grit feels right... characters feel right... complex narrative, even a simple premise, can still be done well.

I don't know where your at with it, but been following the convo thought I would chime in. Cheers.

The Anita thing is pretty dubious. By what I gathered she is interested in T.V. predominately in production of a female-centric program. A sort of Ophrah or The View, as an income source. The fact she hit video games up as a segue to this over-arching goal seems obvious. Heck people on the escapist create articles and post videos on nonsense all the time as an income source.

If she was interested in actually creating a product, I would of kicked in a couple bucks or even volunteered to work on the project. She clearly is not interested in creating an actual game, just selling a notion that content creators "should be" meeting a hither-to unmentioned expectation of some demographic for some reason... I would of been infinitely more impressed with some actual "example" of some work (she had done), rather than a pretty weak paper dick riding Joss Whedon for a M.A. thesis and some videos of dubious academic merit. It looked like a scam to make a quick buck... lot's of communities on the interwebz get the types.

Not worth getting to worked up about... not much serious work been done, other than in the debunking of nonsense... which is surprisingly labor intensive.

DioWallachia:

That is why i wanted to know under what perspective the bullshit of: "Ripley was a man on the script before changing it. That is why she seems more male oriented in mentality" would seem more like "cheating".

Except saying "Ripley was a man first" is a lie, since the characters were drafted to work for either sex. That aside, it's not cheating, as her character did change since the original script. But hey, overly simplistic ignorance FTW, right?

As expected, you didnt read it and its a shame because i wasted time watching that Lets Play on a game i dont give 2 fucks about.

I gave up caring since you were repeatedly dodging my requests. Meh. Is it really a shame? It seems like you're just spoiling for an argument, which is why you accused Sarkesian of just crying sexist on everything. I guess if you are spoiling for a fight, waiting until I gave up and then passive-aggressively posting something is the way to go about it, but you had many opportunities to actually answer me before that. But if you're looking for honest and/or open discourse, you've demonstrated you're against it. This is why you keep attacking Sarkeesian over things she doesn't do, instead of things she does.

This is why the criticisms of Shaimus Young get my respect, and yours do not. I don't even agree with Shaimus completely, but his points are fair and honest.

Hell, if brevity is the soul if wit, then i can demostrate without that wall of text and a single image, that the game doesnt care about the gender you are because that ISNT what the story is about.

That in no way answers the claim of sexism, however. If you did a wall of text along those lines, it's not a shame I missed your wall of text.

Brevity may be the soul of wit, but it generally requires some substance to work with. You failed to provide substance.

Lilani:

Dreiko:
I don't get the "women want to play too" argument. Aren't women already playing? Aren't they already like 40some% of the gaming population? How does this happen when games according to you are mostly incapable of providing the power fantasy they seek?

I think a lot of women are fine with this supposedly male-centric power fantasy, cause women are people and people enjoy doing bad-ass and cool things, destroying things, being loved by the side-characters and so on. The fact that the protagonist is male doesn't mean that the gratification itself is gender-locked. Women don't get precluded from feeling bad-ass when they blow up a building just because the character is male, they still are the player, they still did do the act, they still do feel the joy and fun and whatever else that stems from it.

But again, as Shamus pointed out, if things were reversed it would be like all games are filled with Justin Beiber, Edward Cullen, and Fabio. Yes, women like myself are playing, but that doesn't mean we wouldn't like to see a female lead that is actually geared toward us every now and then. Just imagine your entire gender either being relegated to the sidelines or looking as though they've just been pulled out of a strip club, or just go see Magic Mike to get that nice feeling of awkwardness that occurs when you realize you're experience something that wasn't quite meant for you.

And no, not all games are that marginalizing, and I hate to sound accusatory but it's just so easy for you to say things like "just because the protagonist is male doesn't mean you can't enjoy it, too." You haven't grown up playing games and one day came to the realization you can count on one hand the number of characters your gender that you actually give two shits about. You haven't grown up playing games wondering why the only time a female you can look up to takes the stage, she's very underclothed compared to the male cast. You don't know how bewilderingly exciting it can be when you finally find a great character you can relate to--one that is well-written and is the same gender as you. You may not see it as much of a problem, but I'm afraid it kind of is a pretty big problem, actually.

So please, don't tell me I should just pretend like I don't care that men get all the glory games because I do. I do care. No it doesn't ruin every gaming experience when I'm not represented by a female, but at the very least I'd appreciate it if we'd stop pretending everything is fine when if you look at it objectively, things are really not fine at all. The very fact that we are well into the 21st century and absolutely cannot get our heads around the idea of how to present women in media without making them brainless objects or sex toys I think is pretty clear sign that we are very far from doing fine in this area.

Firstly, I would like to guide you to my second post in this topic, so as to give you a fuller idea of my position and so I won't have to repeat stuff:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/jump/6.389604.15634151

Alright, beyond that, I agree that your perspective is reasonable and understand where you're coming from. I don't mean to make light of those troubles you've faced and whatnot. I'm, in the end, just using my own limited perspective on the matter, my own logic and the way I make sense of things. I think this situation has persisted cause many more have figured what I just did myself, as it is a very intuitive thing to figure.

Ah well, males were the core influence in making games something that could become what it is now so I guess they earned with that an undue representation in the medium to go with it. I think that era is about to end and we're entering one of more diversity in many new and fun ways.

You know, I don't dislike her or her work. I'm sure there's a place for that and plenty of people can stroke their ego saying "I agree" or "I disagree" [/putting it mildly].

But I bloody hate extremists. I hate people who will never leave their opinion and settle for a compromise, I hate people who censor opposition and cannot find it in themselves to stand above their narrow world view and judge things from an objective and CONSTRUCTIVE standpoint.

And here, everybody in this debate loses. Starting from Sarkeesian herself, to all her obnoxious enemies, including her just as obnoxious supporters. What the world needs is not feminism, it's not chauvinism. It's not some editorial ragepiece on reversing gender inequality.

No, what we need is an objective view of things, and the ability to criticise in a constructive manner.

And that is why I find this entire debate extremely unsettling. Nothing about this deserves any attention. Please, hand the mike and soapbox over to someone reasonable. As if...

anita skarseezee didnt like that twisted dark fantasy music video by that black guy, whats his name? its a good song. fuck her

I'm just saying there are a lot of women who also enjoy a good power fantasy, and they want to play too.

Female power fantasy is different than male power fantasy. They don't work in the same game. In the female power fantasy she is able to manipulate outcomes without ever having to take risk or responsibility. For example an average girl is a picked on loner, then she finds an old spellbook that gives her telekinetic powers. So she uses the powers without telling anyone to subtly ruin the lives of the girls who picked on her, get the hot guy, and become the most popular.

The male version of the same story is Chronicle and plays a lot differently.

For an explanation of some of the behavioral differences between men and women see this video, it is incredibly insightful and highly recommended.

So, I'd grant that Mirror's Edge wasn't as easy as most would have liked, but I found it a particularly good game made more so by the feminine aspects shown by the character Faith. She came across to me like my older sister and I was thus able to connect to the character's motivation. Granted, this is a guy's opinion and a woman might see it differently, but I think that game got a terrible rap only because the reviewing industry is so speed-oriented, it leads to an extremely near-sighted review process.

Twinmill5000:
Strong female lead who can crush skulls left and right but still has emotional soft spots the size of Canada? That's a trope. A big one.

Really? Lets test that theory shall we: Name 20 main characters in computer games that fall into this model.

Labyrinth:

Gethsemani:
*Snippity*

Roleplay games have come a long way when it comes to main characters. I remember in Baldur's Gate being mildly irritated that they added to the gender description for female "easily the equals of their male counterparts". Possibly not quoted exactly. In these games the female choice is secondary. You select to change from the male auto-pick in every one that I've played. If there is promotional material it's never been automatically with the female protagonist. There was a lot of fuss around the box art for ME3 portraying FemShep rather than .. Shep? MaleShep? And you could always choose to go back to MaleShep if that was too threatening, it's on the other side of the cover. In fact, you have to change the cover yourself to display FemShep. Oh, and the General Public got to pick how she looked! Those threads on Facebook revolved around "I LIKE THIS ONE BECAUSE SHE'S HOTTER". It's still nice to have the choice, yes. It's not perfect however.

Also, Joss Whedon spent some time describing how his author-projection into his work is always female when I heard him speak once. He writes as though he's Buffy, as though he's River, or Echo. That's probably different in other shows which aren't female-based. I think it works really well, love the guy.

To Sir Young; I have seen several blog posts looking at female protagonists in games, but never anything mainstream. They were often looking at both gender and race. One of the characters who does come up a lot in that context is Portal's Chell. She's a Latino woman who's not really sexualised at all in comparison to the norm.

Having recently replayed Baldur's Gate, I must admit I was stumped as well by that part. It reminds me of the first Star Trek episode, that tried so hard not to be sexist (e.g. the first officer is a female), but it was still a product of its time (e.g. the captain gets irritated by a bumbling female yeoman, remarking how "he's not used to females on the bridge" (and reassures his first officer with an "Oh, you're different, Number One")). So, essentially, its heart was in the right place, as was with Baldur's Gate. Besides, intention is what matters, right?

I should also point out that such a statement is often repeated in all D&D-related publications, including the Forgotten Realms setting material that BG was based on - since it takes place in a medieval fantasy world, the editors thought it necessary to point out that gender is a non-issue in their setting, since it would ruin the fun to stick to historically accurate gender limitations. The same is true for Dragon Age, except that, unlike BG, it doesn't assume the male gender is "default", but still feels the need to point out how females aren't closed-off from any professions in Ferelden, even if they may not be predominant.

Seneschal:
*snip*

I do believe it's done with the best of intention. There are always issues in narratives of whether you use an accurate depiction, in which case people will be unsure if you're doing it for accuracy or because of actual sexism; or if you do something like that to point out that you're conscious of the issues, but it comes across as a bit condescending.

There's no perfect way to go because showing a gender utopia would not necessarily be as compelling as showing inequality, if it's addressed. And there are always problems of coming across as preachy.

Bah, Humbug.

Labyrinth:

Seneschal:
*snip*

I do believe it's done with the best of intention. There are always issues in narratives of whether you use an accurate depiction, in which case people will be unsure if you're doing it for accuracy or because of actual sexism; or if you do something like that to point out that you're conscious of the issues, but it comes across as a bit condescending.

There's no perfect way to go because showing a gender utopia would not necessarily be as compelling as showing inequality, if it's addressed. And there are always problems of coming across as preachy.

Bah, Humbug.

It can't actually be avoided in this medium. Hamhandedly dumping an implausible gender utopia on the audience in a film will raise eyebrows, because we need the protagonist to have something oppressing them, giving them a reason to take up arms. But we begin playing a game with different assumptions, namely that we have as much agency as possible. We are willing to surrender agency if that itself is a plot point (e.g. the famous BioShock bit), but generally we feel insulted if the game doesn't let us do something, or if it doesn't hide that fact from us (e.g. we don't get mad at cliffs and fences obstructing our way out of the map, but invisible walls frustrate us).

The same goes for gender options - we can watch Game of Thrones and not be offended at the limited roles of female characters (because the sexism is present, crucial to the story, and well-addressed), but if BioWare implemented the same sexism in the Dragon Age character creation process (as if they hadn't been inspired by GRRM enough), that would set us off, because we are willing to tolerate some implausibility and handwaving as long as we get to play.

zumbledum:
snip

That's the problem you see we can't enjoy the gameplay because we are being asked to play in the art style equivalent of a seedy strip club.

If the seedy strip club wasn't there then we would enjoy the gameplay so much more...

rembrandtqeinstein:
snip

'female hypoagency' is a load of rubbish mainly because it assumes that some things belong to men, like gaming, as default. Which just isn't the case. Gaming doesn't belong to men as much as books or voting.

I've been gaming longer than a lot of guys who claim this bullshit is fact have been alive. Also I find your idea of female power fantasy extremely sexist.

In fact I've had it up to here with 15 year old COD brodudes telling my opinion isn't welcome in a hobby I have been a part of for 25 years. How about they just sod off. Seriously.

Moonlight Butterfly:

zumbledum:
snip

That's the problem you see we can't enjoy the gameplay because we are being asked to play in the art style equivalent of a seedy strip club.

If the seedy strip club wasn't there then we would enjoy the gameplay so much more...

rembrandtqeinstein:
snip

'female hypoagency' is a load of rubbish mainly because it assumes that some things belong to men, like gaming, as default. Which just isn't the case. Gaming doesn't belong to men as much as books or voting.

I've been gaming longer than a lot of guys who claim this bullshit is fact have been alive. Also I find your idea of female power fantasy extremely sexist.

In fact I've had it up to here with 15 year old COD brodudes telling my opinion isn't welcome in a hobby I have been a part of for 25 years. How about they just sod off. Seriously.

The video isn't about that. It merely postulates that certain traits (acting-by-proxy in females; taking charge and risks in males) were evolutionarily selected for and then passed down in early human history, for very simple reasons (female reproduction requires a healthy body for a sustained amount of time, which forces women to be careful, while men simply need to be proactive to spread their genes).

That doesn't justify the "COD brodudes", nor does it make the hobby "theirs". The video never states that all women should have the same power fantasy of manipulating people from behind the curtain, but it does offer an explanation as to why Charmed and The Craft are female-oriented, while 24 is male-oriented, and not the other way around.

Seneschal:
snip

It's a stereotype though and stereotypes never do anyone any good.

Women aren't trying to 'invade male spaces' because they are not 'male spaces' to begin with they belong to everyone. I don't have a go at bronies for watching and influencing My Little Pony just because 'women watched it first' it's fucking ridiculous.

"There's room for everyone in this hobby, and we can do better than we're doing now."

"Women want to play too."

"These are all good questions, and they don't have simple answers. More importantly, they can really only be answered by talking to women - preferably in a safe forum away from the screaming murlocs."

Those three statements right there sum it all up nicely.

Now, Sarkeesian has her own focus, sure, but she has every right to focus on the specific factors that interest her. Personally, I'm interested to see what she has to say in the end. The fact that so many people threw such a fit shows that some people must feel threatened by her questions. If someone decided to do a study on the effects and treatment of, oh ... let's say skin cancer, would it be normal for people researching heart disease or breast cancer to throw a fit, because they don't feel skin cancer should be a topic of research until their pet disease had enough research money first?

And the fact that so many people came out in support, and donated far more than she needed or even asked for doesn't prove some kind of malicious intent on her part-quite the contrary. It proves that that her topic of interest has really struck a chord with a lot of people.

I agree that there aren't nearly enough good female protagonists or antagonists or even characters in general in video games or movies or TV shows. Part of that is just due to unfamiliarity, ignorance, laziness and just lack of interest on the part of content creators. The solution is to get more women involved in the creation process.

We are seeing the beginnings of this now, so despite the odd backlash, I think this situation really IS going to get better over time. There is plenty of room for all kinds of media, aimed at many different tastes without having any particular segment feeling left out.

Moonlight Butterfly:

Seneschal:
snip

It's a stereotype though and stereotypes never do anyone any good.

Women aren't trying to 'invade male spaces' because they are not 'male spaces' to begin with they belong to everyone. I don't have a go at bronies for watching and influencing My Little Pony just because 'women watched it first' it's fucking ridiculous.

I do not disagree with you, but most of the women I know would. Pretty much every female I know thinks gaming is a 'guys' thing, and that it's one of those things you just roll your eyes at and hope they get over it.

Legion:

Moonlight Butterfly:

Seneschal:
snip

It's a stereotype though and stereotypes never do anyone any good.

Women aren't trying to 'invade male spaces' because they are not 'male spaces' to begin with they belong to everyone. I don't have a go at bronies for watching and influencing My Little Pony just because 'women watched it first' it's fucking ridiculous.

I do not disagree with you, but most of the women I know would. Pretty much every female I know thinks gaming is a 'guys' thing, and that it's one of those things you just roll your eyes at and hope they get over it.

Then the females you know are lame and also boring :p

Moonlight Butterfly:

Seneschal:
snip

It's a stereotype though and stereotypes never do anyone any good.

Funny thing to say after generalizing male gamers as "CoD brodudes". And yes, you did; according to you, the main reason why "CoD brodudes" are noxious to females in gaming is supposedly their masculinity, which is inherently intolerant of femininity. However, this ignores the fact that the few brodudes that you criticise treat other males equally bad, essentially meaning that you mistake their general rudeness for misogyny in gamer culture as a whole. Just how many screaming 15-year-olds did you encounter in comparison to the actual number of gamers you know of? Have they damaged you in any important way? Did you attribute their rudeness to their penises immediately, or after you had ignored the fact that they're: a) teenagers, b) playing a competitive game, c) under the protection of anonymity?

Now, I think girlwriteswhat is way too protective of the "male identity", apparently blaming women for wanting to switch places with men without having fought and toiled these last 40,000 years. I don't agree with her on that, and I don't like the idea that males need a place of their own or their identity crumbles. And I do support an equal divide between male and female videogame protagonists. But she's spot on when she accuses women of simply not enrolling in game designs schools in big enough numbers - the overwhelmingly male perspective in games won't change if female game designers don't show up. It's a matter of pure choice, there are no formal barriers in becoming a female designer, except if the very presence of males in the industry is somehow "revolting".

Seneschal:
snip

The thing is there ARE women in games design and saying that, because they aren't the majority, we have no right to expect our sex to be treated with some sort of decency is stupid. Stephen King and Joss Whedon seem to manage okay at writing decent female characters. Besides that the fact that you are only allowed to have an opinion on something is if you are a developer is bloody ridiculous.

I wasn't referencing 'CODbrodudes' in reference to receiving abuse I'm just sick of being told by such 'gamers' that I have less of a stake or a right to an opinion than them because they have a dick, usually on forums.

I also read recently that a independent game company has a majority of female staff. The owner explained that when their previous employer was bought out by a large publisher they gave all the equally qualified male applicants new jobs and didn't even call the women back. The independent guy then recruited the women he had worked with before the buyout.

So there's still some gender discrimination in the gaming industry.

My only gripe with Sarkeesian is that she's essentially a no-name with no more authority on the subject than any other regular gamer (besides the vaguest point of her being female), but now she's been given a lump sum of serious cash to produce Youtube videos. I cannot possibly fathom a reason as to why we, the audience, should remotely care about her opinions, seeing as how she has no background or prior relevant experience to convince me that what she has to say is credible and worth my time. It comes off less as a passion project and more as though she's taking advantage of a hot button issue, and to see someone take over $500k from backers for a series of Op-Eds just feels dirty and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Moonlight Butterfly:

Seneschal:
snip

The thing is there ARE women in games design and saying that, because they aren't the majority, we have no right to expect our sex to be treated with some sort of decency is stupid. Stephen King and Joss Whedon seem to manage okay at writing decent female characters. Besides that the fact that you are only allowed to have an opinion on something is if you are a developer is bloody ridiculous.

I wasn't referencing 'CODbrodudes' in reference to receiving abuse I'm just sick of being told by such 'gamers' that I have less of a stake or a right to an opinion than them because they have a dick, usually on forums.

I also read recently that a independent game company has a majority of female staff. The owner explained that when their previous employer was bought out by a large publisher they gave all the equally qualified male applicants new jobs and didn't even call the women back. The independent guy then recruited the women he had worked with before the buyout.

So there's still some gender discrimination in the gaming industry.

Nowhere did I say that you're not entitled to an opinion if you're not a designer, I said that it's unfair to expect a 90% male-crewed industry to represent both sides without bias. We're talking hundreds of thousands of people, hundreds of them for every project, not a few solitary writers. Women are supposedly 40% or more of the gaming audience, but they seem to shirk the responsibility of actually taking part in the creative process, and I seriously doubt that kind of disparity between the number of female gamers and designers is just "patriarchal oppression", obstructing game schools, and sexist employers. The fact that game developers are predominantly male isn't a male-generated problem - women weren't barred from entering when the medium was in its infancy, and early games weren't nearly as male-oriented as today's. Saying that "we don't push enough women into the industry" and that things aren't "welcoming" enough for them is blatant objectification, treating women as if their choice in higher education is something to be "steered" and not really theirs to choose anyway.

So yes, I think if women make up half the gaming audience, they should choose to make up half of the designers. Demanding fair and equal representation is otherwise unrealistic, though demonstrating that there's a market for concessions (e.g. the FemShep thing) should be encouraged. And I definitely wouldn't expect games to get less pandering, but they will ideally start to pander to both genders in equal measure.

Seneschal:
women weren't barred from entering when the medium was in its infancy,

Yeah I'm sure there were loads of Japanese women working at Nintendo in the late 70's... oh wait...no.

There is more and more women working in games but saying that we have to be treated like dirt until we have an equal share is just ludicrous.

Would you accept that 'oh it's just the majority bias' excuse if we were talking about racism, of course not, so why is sexism okay?

Frankly I would love to be in games design and 'the creative process' but the fact is I live in the North of England and there ain't a whole lot of games design schools here. Should that give me no right to complain about stupid stereotypes in games, hell no.

Moonlight Butterfly:
There is more and more women working in games but saying that we have to be treated like dirt until we have an equal share is just ludicrous.

And implying that every single game ever made has treated women like dirt is equally ludicrous. There ARE games which have great female leads, and most of those games HAVE been made by men.

The percentage of games/media where women are treated like dirt will reduce as the percentage of women involved in the creative process of games/media increases.

It's true that women didn't invent the first gaming systems, games, etc and prety much the entire culture was founded overwhelmingly by men. But times have changed, you said so yourself, and males don't "own" gaming (just like males don't "own" light bulbs despite Thomas Edison, Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans being entirely behind it's invention).

Everything males have invented has been for everyone to share. Sure at first they were posessive of their inventions and probably insisted that it was a "male" thing (e.g. women driving cars was once frowned upon), but eventually they opened up views and allowed everyone to do it.

The same thing is slowly happening with video games, you just need to give it time. That's right, time.

Frankly I would love to be in games design and 'the creative process' but the fact is I live in the North of England and there ain't a whole lot of games design schools here.

Stop repeatedly bringing your personal life into the picture to argue against everyone's points, especially when they're referring to a far more general picture. Stop taking every statement as a personal insult directed towards you. Stop using your life as an example of what you think the majority (or even a good chunk) of other females' lives are like. Stop ending every single post with "I still have the right to argue and criticize, ain't nobody going to take away my right, etc etc". Nobody is trying to silence you, and even if they are they have obviously been failing so far (lol). Nobody is taking away your personal rights or even suggesting the idea, but in most of your posts on this topic you just keep saying the same thing over and over.
You've been gaming for a long time, we get it, stop rubbing it in our faces again and again. No 15-year-old CoD players are telling you to shut up here (yes I've read your other posts here). Nobody is rubbing their gaming experience in your face.
This is the exact "look at me I'm a gamer girl" attitude that I thought feminists were AGAINST. Your personal life story as a gamer is interesting (as is everyone else's), but not something you can dissmiss whole arguments on.

Tippy:
snip

I'm so sorry that my existence ruins your little bubble of entitlement and sexism. I'll keep posting the same things in these threads over and over if I have to until you guys get it through your heads that gaming doesn't belong to you and women have it perfectly in our right to point out when the demeaning cheesecake goes too far. Nowhere did I say every game treats us like dirt you thought that bit up yourself.

When you say things about 'women' you are saying them about me so hell yeah I'm going to wade in with my personal experiences. There are probably a vast number of women in the same position as me, as we all like saying on these forums you are never the only one!

If you want to throw names of inventors around and prove how vastly superior men are, okay, Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), who is sometimes credited as being the first computer programmer.

Is it okay if I criticise games now? Will the big strong man let me?

Moonlight Butterfly:
I'll keep posting the same things in these threads over and over if I have to until you guys get it through your heads that gaming doesn't belong to you and women have it perfectly in our right to point out when the demeaning cheesecake goes too far.

Back to dismissing arguments claiming "blah blah blah, it's my right" while actually saying nothing at all: Check.

If you want to throw names of inventors around and prove how superior men are, okay, Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), who is sometimes credited as being the first computer programmer.

Is it okay if I criticise games now?

Automatic accusations of sexism and mysoginy: Check.

Here, re-worded just for you: "Just because Ada Lovelace was sometimes credited as being the first computer programmer doesn't mean that females "own" programming".
There, happy?

Tippy:
snip

I'm so sorry that my existence ruins your little bubble of entitlement and sexism.[/quote]
Whoa, I think I hit the nail on the head with you:
> Again, assuming everything is aimed at you personally
> Anyone who argues/disagrees with you is automatically misogynistic and sexist

Perfect :D

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